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Thursday, March 21, 2013

happy food: lemon coconut macaroons with white chocolate {recipe}

When I was a little girl, my mother had some friends from Israel. As an only child I was fascinated by the whirlwind that was their home. Kids, grandparents, parents and hugs, so many hugs. I remember sitting at their solid kitchen table as we kids sat like happy waiting puppies for a warm macaroon made by their Bubbe (grandmother). If I close my eyes I remember how sweet and warm their home smelled. I wanted so badly to be a part of this large, loving family and sometimes just for an afternoon I was. I was part of their world.

Now, when given the choice of desserts at a restaurant, if coconut macaroons are on the menu, I will always order one just so I can remember that warm, happy feeling. (note: The Nordstrom Cafe makes absolutely extraordinary macaroons.) With Passover starting this Monday I thought I would try my hand at making these traditional Passover treats at home for the first time. I came across several basic macaroon recipes online from  The Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart (my favorite resources) but because we love coconut and lemon and white chocolate, I tried many variations using these three ingredients until we hit on a macaroon flavor yesterday that even Bubbe would have approved of.

Yesterday, on the first day of spring which was sunny here in Seattle, I finished drizzling these macaroons with white chocolate and I sat in the sunshine and enjoyed the perfect combination of bright, happy lemon and coconut flavors finished off with a creamy white chocolate. I was so thankful for the Bubbes in our worlds, the women in our lives who shared their recipes and their hugs so generously with us.

I hope during this Passover you are able to take time with your family and enjoy the tastes of your childhood. Chag Sameach!

Special thanks to Rod Oshins, our friend and best man for his help with this article (and always)!

Lemon Coconut Macaroons Drizzled with White Chocolate {recipe} 

This is a fairly easy recipe and pretty much foolproof. 


1 large egg white
Pinch of Kosher salt (1/8th teaspoon)
1   14 ounce package of sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon curd
zest of one lemon
1 cup of white chocolate, chopped



Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a large bowl beat egg white and salt until foamy and peaks start to form (about 90 seconds). Fold in coconut flakes, sweetened condensed milk, lemon curd and lemon zest. Mix only until all ingredients are incorporated. 

The mixture will be very tacky and fluffy. You can use an ice cream scoop but I prefer to use my hands. Scoop a small amount of the batter (about 1/4 cup) into your hands and compact it into a ball. Place on cookie sheet and using your plan, press down with a little pressure so the ball is flat on the bottom. Proceed with the rest of the batter, placing macaroons 1 inch apart.  (There is no leavening so they will not expand.)

Bake on a medium rack, 25-30 minutes, turning the cookie sheet halfway through cooking. Peek in on them at the 20 minute mark to be sure the tops aren't becoming too well done. Macaroons should be golden brown when done. (Yesterday, these cooked for about 28 minutes)

Remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Cool for at least one hour before adding drizzle.

To prepare chocolate drizzle, add chocolate to microwave safe bowl and heat chocolate for one minute. At the one minute mark, remove from microwave (bowl will be very hot!) and stir. If the chocolate hasn't melted, heat for additional 30 seconds and stir again until melted. Place parchment paper below wire rack of macaroons and using a spoon, drizzle white chocolate on tops of macaroons.) Let cool for at least one hour in refrigerator and enjoy!


I made two batches. One with lemon curd and one with lemon juice. You could substitute lemon juice for the lemon curd if you had to but I found that the lemon curd (available in markets in the jam aisle) adds a bright, tart, effervescent quality to the macaroons that the batch made with just straight lemon juice didn't have.

The lemon zest is also essential for this recipe. If you delete it, it doesn't have that POP.  Here is a great microplane from Williams-Sonoma. We use our microplane almost everyday to zest/micrograte things like fresh Parmesan and limes.

We also tried these with dark chocolate drizzle but it just overpowered the light delicate flavor of the lemon and coconut. The white chocolate was perfect. Use a high quality white chocolate like Ghirardelli.

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